Art Clokey

Last updated
Art Clokey
Art Clokey.jpg
Arthur Charles Farrington

(1921-10-12)October 12, 1921
DiedJanuary 8, 2010(2010-01-08) (aged 88)
Alma mater Pomona College
Miami University
University of Southern California
  • Animator
  • director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • voice actor
Years active1953–1995
Known forCreator of Gumby and Davey and Goliath
Ruth Clokey
(m. 1948;div. 1966)

Gloria Clokey
(m. 1976;died 1998)
Family Joseph W. Clokey (father)
Awards Inkpot Award (2006) [1]

Arthur "Art" Clokey (born Arthur Charles Farrington; October 12, 1921 – January 8, 2010) was an American pioneer in the popularization of stop-motion clay animation, best known as the creator of the character Gumby and the original voice of Gumby's sidekick, Pokey. Clokey's career began in 1953 with a film experiment called Gumbasia , which was influenced by his professor, Slavko Vorkapich, at the University of Southern California. [2] [3] [4] [5] Clokey and his wife Ruth subsequently came up with the clay character Gumby and his horse Pokey, who first appeared in the Howdy Doody Show and later got their own series The Adventures of Gumby, from which they became a familiar presence on American television. The characters enjoyed a renewal of interest in the 1980s when American actor and comedian Eddie Murphy parodied Gumby in a skit on Saturday Night Live .


Clokey's second-most famous production is the duo of Davey and Goliath , funded by the Lutheran Church in America (now the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). [6]

Clokey founded the company Premavision (which has manufacturing subsidiary, Prema Toy Company) around his Gumby and Pokey franchise.

Early life

At Webb School in Claremont, young Clokey came under the influence of teacher Ray Alf, who took students on expeditions digging for fossils and learning about the world around them. Clokey later studied geology at Pomona College, where his father Joseph was an organist, before leaving in 1943 to join the military during World War II. [7] [8] He graduated from his father's alma mater, Miami University, in 1948.[ citation needed ]

Clay animation

Art Clokey also made a few highly experimental and visually inventive short clay animation films for adults, including his first student film Gumbasia (produced in 1953 and released in 1955), the visually rich Mandala (1977)—described by Clokey as a metaphor for evolving human consciousness—and the equally bizarre The Clay Peacock (1959), an elaboration on the animated NBC logo of the time. [9] [10] Consisting of animated clay shapes contorting to a jazz score, Gumbasia so intrigued Samuel G. Engel, then president of the Motion Pictures Producers Association, that he financed the pilot film for what became Clokey's The Gumby Show (1957). The title Gumbasia was in homage to Walt Disney's Fantasia .

In 1987, Clokey provided the voice for the figure Pokey in Arnold Leibovit's film The Puppetoon Movie , and has been voicing him since.

The Clokeys are credited with the clay-animation title sequences for the 1965 beach movies Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini . His son, Joe Clokey, continued the Davey and Goliath cartoon in 2004. In March 2007, KQED-TV broadcast the hour-long documentary Gumby Dharma as part of their Truly CA series. [11]

In 1995, Clokey and Dallas McKennon teamed up again for Gumby: The Movie , a feature film. The movie was not a success at the box office and was widely panned by critics, although it saw modest success on home media, going on to sell more than a million copies on home media, cementing itself as a cult classic. It was released in its original 90-minute theatrical version on Blu-ray in 2017.

In the mid-1990s, Nickelodeon, Fox, and Cartoon Network signed a contract with Art Clokey to air every episode of Gumby for its anchor spots at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. It was on top of their ratings for over three years.

Death and legacy

Clokey died in his sleep on January 8, 2010, at age 88, at his home in Los Osos, California, after suffering from a recurrent bladder infection. [12] [13] [14]

On October 13, 2011, a day after on what would have been Clokey's 90th birthday, Google paid homage to his life and works with an interactive logo doodle in the style of his clay animations, including Gumby, produced by Premavision Studios. [15]


Related Research Articles

<i>Gumby</i> 1957 American clay animation franchise

Gumby is an American clay animation franchise, centered on the titular green clay humanoid character created and modeled by Art Clokey. The character has been the subject of two television series, a feature-length film and other media. Since the original series aired, Gumby has become a famous example of stop-motion clay animation and a cultural icon, spawning tributes, parodies and merchandising.

Norma MacMillan Canadian actress

Norma MacMillan was a Canadian actress, best known for voicing numerous characters in animation and claymation, including Casper the Friendly Ghost on The New Casper Cartoon Show, Gumby on The Gumby Show, Sweet Polly Purebred on Underdog, and Davey on Davey and Goliath.

Clay animation

Clay animation or claymation, sometimes plasticine animation, is one of many forms of stop-motion animation. Each animated piece, either character or background, is "deformable"—made of a malleable substance, usually plasticine clay.

Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment former production company known mainly for animated holiday specials

Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment was an American production company located in New York, New York, and known for its seasonal television specials, usually done in stop motion animation. Rankin/Bass' stop-motion productions are recognizable by their visual style of doll-like characters with spheroid body parts and ubiquitous powdery snow using an animation technique called "Animagic". Often, traditional cel animation scenes of falling snow would be projected over the action to create the effect of a snowfall.

<i>Davey and Goliath</i> American animated television series

Davey and Goliath is a Christian clay-animated children's television series, whose central characters were created by Art Clokey, Ruth Clokey, and Dick Sutcliffe, and which was produced first by the United Lutheran Church in America and later by the Lutheran Church in America. The show was aimed at a youth audience, and generally dealt with issues such as respect for authority, sharing and prejudice. Eventually, these themes included serious issues such as racism, death, religious intolerance and vandalism. Each 15-minute episode features the adventures of Davey Hansen and his "talking" dog Goliath as they learn the love of God through everyday occurrences. Many of the episodes also feature Davey's parents John and Elaine, his sister Sally, as well as Davey's friends: Jimmy, Teddy, and Nathaniel in earlier episodes, and Jonathan, Jimmy, Nicky, and Cisco in later ones.

Joseph Waddell Clokey was an American educator, organist and composer of sacred and secular music in the first half of the 20th Century.

<i>Gumby: The Movie</i> 1995 film by Art Clokey

Gumby: The Movie is a 1995 American stop-motion surrealist claymation adventure film featuring the character Gumby.

Dick Beals American voice actor

Richard Beals was an American voice actor, who performed many voices in his career, which spanned the period from the early 1950s into the 21st century. Beals voiced both male and female children.

<i>Mad Monster Party?</i> 1967 film

Mad Monster Party? is a 1967 American stop-motion animated musical comedy film produced by Rankin/Bass Productions for Embassy Pictures. The film stars the voices of Boris Karloff, Allen Swift, Gale Garnett, and Phyllis Diller. Although less well-known than Rankin/Bass' holiday specials, it has become a cult film.

Dallas McKennon American actor

Dallas Raymond McKennon, sometimes credited as Dal McKennon, was an American actor who had a career lasting over 50 years. During World War II he served in the Army Signal Corps and was stationed in Alaska.

<i>The Puppetoon Movie</i> 1987 American film

The Puppetoon Movie is a 1987 animated film written, produced, and directed by Arnold Leibovit. It is based on the Puppetoons characters created by George Pal in the 1930s and 1940s which feature the eponymous Puppetoon animation, and features Gumby, Pokey and Arnie the Dinosaur, who host the framing story. Its framing story stars the voices of Dick Beals, Art Clokey, Paul Frees and Dallas McKennon as the main characters.

The Chiodo Brothers American puppeteers and special effects artists

The Chiodo Brothers are an American trio of sibling special effects artists, specializing in clay modeling, creature creation, stop motion and animatronics. Known for their film Killer Klowns from Outer Space and creating puppets and effects for films such as Critters, Ernest Scared Stupid, and Team America: World Police, the Chiodo brothers created the claymation sequence for the Large Marge scene from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, and the stop-motion elements in the North Pole scenes from Elf. They also created the mouse dioramas featured in the 2010 film Dinner for Schmucks, as well as the stop-motion Stone Age creatures in the Cup Noodles ads from the mid-90s and were puppeteers on The Thundermans. In addition, they produced a puppet segment for the episode of The Simpsons "The Fight Before Christmas" (2010). The band Chiodos was originally named "The Chiodos Bros." after them, before modifying their title slightly.

Richard Towne Sutcliffe was an American animator and one of the creators of the 1960s stop motion religious animated series, Davey and Goliath.

<i>Gumbasia</i> a short stop- motion film directed by Art Clokey

Gumbasia, a 3-minute, 10-second short film released on September 2, 1955, was the first clay animation produced by Art Clokey, who went on to create the classic series, Gumby and Davey and Goliath, using the same technique.

The year 2010 involved animation-related events.

This is a list of events in 2012 in animation.

Events in 1961 in animation.

Events in 1955 in animation.


  1. Inkpot Award
  2. Tim Lawson; Alisa Persons, eds. (2004). The magic behind the voices. University Press of Mississippi. p. 120. ISBN   978-1-57806-696-4.
  3. TV personalities: biographical sketch book: Volume 3. St. Louis, Mo. : TV Personalities. 1957. OCLC   2470684.
  4. "Hero Complex". Los Angeles Times.
  5. "Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby". Los Angeles Times. January 9, 2010.
  6. "Who Are Davey and Goliath?". Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  7. Felch, Jason (9 January 2010). "Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  8. Gilbertsen, Christian (12 February 2010). "Arthur Clokey Dies: Pomona alumnus and creator of Gumby dies at 88". The Student Life . Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  9. These films have recently become available for purchase by the public and are included in the Rhino box-set release of Gumby's television shorts.
  10. "Art Clokey's Clay Peacock".
  12. Felch, Jason (January 9, 2010). "Art Clokey dies at 88; creator of Gumby". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved May 20, 2012.
  13. Fox, Margalit (January 11, 2010). "Art Clokey, Animator Who Created Gumby, Dies at 88". The New York Times . Archived from the original on 14 January 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2010.
  14. Pemberton, Patrick S. "'Gumby' creator and Los Osos resident Art Clokey dies" Archived January 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine , Tribune, January 8, 2010
  15. Art Clokey: How Gumby got his name, The Christian Science Monitor , retrieved 2010-10-12.